• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Accurate and boring or colored and fun

MakeMineVinyl

Major Contributor
Manufacturer
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
1,840
Likes
2,671
Location
Santa Fe, NM
Is “that doesn’t happen” the same as “that shouldn’t happen”? A takeout from this forum is that we can have better loudspeakers and compensate for their major errors, and to an extent for their environment as well. Why not a similar approach to microphones?
To that I can only say If you want to explore this please knock yourself out! This forum is not really a hub for recording engineers, though there are obviously several here. Its a music reproduction science forum. There are recording specific forums where you might find more discussion and interest in the nitty gritty of microphone coloration and such. But I warn you, and I've said it more times than I care to, microphones sound the way they do for very practical and valid reasons, and you are bound to encounter significant pushback from working engineers on this subject.

Its certainly not hard to find microphones which have as little coloration as possible, and measurement microphones are an obvious example (although low noise performance is not a priority with this type). In some cases you will get fine results from them, and in many cases they will sound dull and lifeless. A violin recorded at a couple feet with a 'flat' microphone is probably going to sound fine. Move that microphone 15' back, and you will get mud. Which one is more 'accurate'? It really depends on the microphone setup distance and the acoustic environment of the venue. And I'm ignoring the reality of the different microphone pickup patterns and limitless use scenarios.

The ball is really in your court if you wish to explore this further.
 
Last edited:

tomtoo

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
1,783
Likes
1,730
Location
Germany
Does the “sound“ of speakers only depend on frequency response?
What about diaphragm material, mass….etc.
isn’t there more to consider?

Diapraghm material and mass have there outcome in FR.
 

Duke

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Manufacturer
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Messages
761
Likes
1,695
Location
Princeton, Texas
Ok, if i get it right.The only thing that changes is that higher order harmonics get more wight. But even this would not change much if we talk about 0.000x% thd of a good modern amp. Even if the weighting would make it 100 times more worse it would stay under many tubes. You had than to compare sota tubes against average SS. At least if your goal is low distortion. What is not everyones. What i accept,


My understanding is that the GedLee Metric is neither based on nor directly linked to THD numbers. It looks at distortion perception through a different lens.

My understanding is that the GedLee Metric looks directly at the transfer function - the change that the device makes to the input signal - and in particular the slope of the transfer function. Also the Gedlee Metric takes into account the characteristics of human distortion perception by weighting distortion components according to how much they are concealed by "masking".

My understanding is that THD is an artifact of the transfer function rather than a description of it, much less one weighted according to the characteristics of human hearing perception.

Earl Geddes actually found a weak negative correlation between low THD and preference - in other words, the device with the higher THD number was weakly more likely to be preferred in a controlled blind test. (My recollection is that this was due to the higher amounts of global negative feedback required for lower THD numbers being detrimental in ways that do not show up in the THD numbers.)

I'm not saying your device with 0.000x% THD is perceptually inferior to something with a higher THD number; I'm saying that THD is the wrong yardstick, and that there is a better one.

And that better yardstick may not discredit tube gear and those who like it to the extent that THD numbers do. Some may be resistant to the GedLee Metric because it may not justify their feelings of superiority over those who allegedly "enjoy" distortion.
 
Last edited:

krabapple

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
858
Likes
907
That's what I said. He starts with "flattest possible" and changes it to "not flattest possible". Why not start with "not flattest possible"? Could be that the room correction makes the direct sound flatter, by coincidence. If you're focussed on how the FR ends up, why worry about how it starts?

He's changing the response at *the listening position* to flattest possible. The problem is the room, not the speakers. if you'd rather start with speakers that are *themselves* a problem, that's two problems you are dealing with. Also, not all speakers problems can be easily fixed with EQ. So again you aim for speakers that already 'work right'.
 

krabapple

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
858
Likes
907
It is possible that your speakers are flat but, in room, have a dip in the 100Hz-200hz region that makes the music boring, whereas if you had speakers with a hump there, it would be better.

Leaving aside that the 'dip' could disappear if you e.g., move your listening position, your strategy boils down to: take your chances and hope for the best. Or, try to find a speaker that 'measures' as nicely compensating for your 100-200Hz room problem...but has no other FR issues.

Good luck with all that.

And of course, they'll only 'work' in another room with the same problem.
 

Inner Space

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
705
Likes
1,418
He's changing the response at *the listening position* to flattest possible. The problem is the room, not the speakers. if you'd rather start with speakers that are *themselves* a problem, that's two problems you are dealing with. Also, not all speakers problems can be easily fixed with EQ. So again you aim for speakers that already 'work right'.

Do you not see the incoherence in that position? He feels constrained to choose the flattest-possible on-axis speaker, while fully intending to immediately render it much less flat, in pursuit of improvements at the listening position. If you were to buy a car fully intending to immediately paint it orange, why would you care what color it was originally?
 
OP
D

DanielT

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
213
Likes
113
Location
Sweden
I'm following the discussion. Many interesting points of view and experiences of hifi and sound recording and reproduction.:)

A little awkward with the word, the concept colored. An extreme, the cheapest of the cheapest simplest microstereo that produces a lot of distortion, I do not think any of those who wrote in this thread would find it particularly pleasant to listen to music. On the contrary. It's a really colored sound.

On the other hand, a virtually linear undistorted hifi system where you change a little in the frequency curve according to taste. It is probably also to color the sound, but well it is not a change made by the devices but based on our perception of how it should sound.

It has been discussed, including here:

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/what-is-your-favorite-house-curve.2382/

https://www.minidsp.com/forum/dirac-series-support/17523-advice-on-better-house-curve

Just google and different threads will appear.

Common factor in the two attached pictures?

No one uses it at low volume? Colored sound?

Interesting audio history I think:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

Edit, or now an active thread:
https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/the-etymotic-target-r-i-p-harman.26396/
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20210915_175732.jpg
    IMG_20210915_175732.jpg
    173.7 KB · Views: 19
  • IMG_20210915_181229 (1).jpg
    IMG_20210915_181229 (1).jpg
    160.8 KB · Views: 17
Last edited:

tomtoo

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
1,783
Likes
1,730
Location
Germany
I'm following the discussion. Many interesting points of view and experiences of hifi and sound recording and reproduction.:)

A little awkward with the word, the concept colored. An extreme, the cheapest of the cheapest simplest microstereo that produces a lot of distortion, I do not think any of those who wrote in this thread would find it particularly pleasant to listen to music. On the contrary. It's a really colored sound.

On the other hand, a virtually linear undistorted hifi system where you change a little in the frequency curve according to taste. It is probably also to color the sound, but well it is not a change made by the devices but based on our perception of how it should sound.

It has been discussed, including here:

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/what-is-your-favorite-house-curve.2382/

https://www.minidsp.com/forum/dirac-series-support/17523-advice-on-better-house-curve

Just google and different threads will appear.

Common factor in the two attached pictures?

No one uses it at low volume? Colored sound?

Interesting audio history I think:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

Edit, or now an active thread:
https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/the-etymotic-target-r-i-p-harman.26396/

Its not history, its nice to have. But its not used in a serious listening situation.
Today you can call it, a littel more advanced, dynamic EQ. And it gets used in many situations.
 
OP
D

DanielT

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
213
Likes
113
Location
Sweden
A nice unserious listening situation is still a listening situation.:)
I myself use the loudness function from time to time when I listen at low volume but not otherwise.

Regarding loudness, I thought it was interesting . I paste a slightly longer piece, but you who write hear are ,I guess , interested in sound history, so

"An equal-loudness contour is a measure of sound pressure level, over the frequency spectrum, for which a listener perceives a constant loudness when presented with pure steady tones.[1] The unit of measurement for loudness levels is the phon and is arrived at by reference to equal-loudness contours. By definition, two sine waves of differing frequencies are said to have equal-loudness level measured in phons if they are perceived as equally loud by the average young person without significant hearing impairment.

Equal-loudness contours from ISO 226:2003 shown with original ISO standard.
ISO equal-loudness contours with frequency in Hz.
The Fletcher–Munson curves are one of many sets of equal-loudness contours for the human ear, determined experimentally by Harvey Fletcher and Wilden A. Munson, and reported in a 1933 paper entitled "Loudness, its definition, measurement and calculation" in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour
 
Last edited:

Grumpish

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
88
Likes
81
My understanding is that the GedLee Metric is neither based on nor directly linked to THD numbers. It looks at distortion perception through a different lens.

My understanding is that the GedLee Metric looks directly at the transfer function - the change that the device makes to the input signal - and in particular the slope of the transfer function. Also the Gedlee Metric takes into account the characteristics of human distortion perception by weighting distortion components according to how much they are concealed by "masking".

My understanding is that THD is an artifact of the transfer function rather than a description of it, much less one weighted according to the characteristics of human hearing perception.

Earl Geddes actually found a weak negative correlation between low THD and preference - in other words, the device with the higher THD number was weakly more likely to be preferred in a controlled blind test. (My recollection is that this was due to the higher amounts of global negative feedback required for lower THD numbers being detrimental in ways that do not show up in the THD numbers.)

I'm not saying your device with 0.000x% THD is perceptually inferior to something with a higher THD number; I'm saying that THD is the wrong yardstick, and that there is a better one.

And that better yardstick may not discredit tube gear and those who like it to the extent that THD numbers do. Some may be resistant to the GedLee Metric because it may not justify their feelings of superiority over those who allegedly "enjoy" distortion.

I read the article, actually quite interesting, and a topic that is probably worthy of it's own thread. According to the article, actually making measurements was very difficult, a limitation of the analysers in use at the time (2005). If the more modern analysers are able to do it(?), it would be interesting to see some modern and not so modern amplifiers with good and not so good conventional THD tested and then evaluated ((blind, of course) for actual listening preferences. Interesting to see the reactions of some forum members - the only the numbers matter camp mainly - who simply dismissed it as irrelevant, on purely subjective grounds.
 

tomtoo

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
1,783
Likes
1,730
Location
Germany
A pleasant listening situation is still a listening situation.:)

Regarding loudness, I thought it was interesting that the thoughts about it began as early as

Say not early, that NAD is my youth. If you say so early i feel old. ;)

But i think, thinking about it was much earlyer.
 

daftcombo

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
3,404
Likes
3,369
Leaving aside that the 'dip' could disappear if you e.g., move your listening position, your strategy boils down to: take your chances and hope for the best. Or, try to find a speaker that 'measures' as nicely compensating for your 100-200Hz room problem...but has no other FR issues.

Good luck with all that.

And of course, they'll only 'work' in another room with the same problem.
It is not "my strategy" at all. It is an attempt at explaining why some people are satisfied with speakers with a bump in that area.
 
OP
D

DanielT

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
213
Likes
113
Location
Sweden
Say not early, that NAD is my youth. If you say so early i feel old. ;)

But i think, thinking about it was much earlyer.

:)

My guess, the average age here, like many other forums that deal with hifi is. Wait let me really guess now ... 46 years ... It dont matter
even if that were the case.

As long as you have hifi with potential, a hell of high SPL (which you may not use so often but it is there) you are young at heart. That, on the other hand, matters.
 
Last edited:

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
2,996
Likes
3,851
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
No, I did not really understand the point of colored sound, ie as you say listen to the equipment.

Maybe if you are looking for high SPL then you can compromise and accept a more colored sound. It happens daily in professional PA contexts, right? But as a non professional within PA, at home, listen to music well ... no I do not think so. Although high SPL is nice to have ..:)
My experience might not jibe with somebody else's [remember that the hearing mechanism is also a transducer, also distorts, is different from person to person, sometimes radically so], but the most noticeable coloration of [successful] tube gear compared to solid state is a sense of the presence of the performers in the room. The amp might be filling in overtones that are not in the recordings, but the the overall effect is a greater sense of physical presence. There's a sliding scale for this---more presence/less detail and vice versa. "More detail" sometimes is more treble [it isn't with the Topping L30, FWIW] and "tube sound" is usually less treble, but this artifact---a sense of presence---reaches its peak with an acoustic playback of an acoustically recorded 78. It's downright eerie. But there is no sense of "detail" or of treble. That singer is in the room with you, even if you can't hear the lyrics all that clearly.
 

tomtoo

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
1,783
Likes
1,730
Location
Germany
:)

My guess, the average age here, like many other forums that deal with hifi is. Wait let me really guess now ... 46 years ... It dont matter
even if that were the case.

As long as you have hifi with potential, a hell of high SPL (which you may not use but it is there) you are young at heart. That, on the other hand, matters.

I think there is a statistic here. Looks like a lot in here are in there 50. So your guess was not bad if you add 10 years. SPL? Man we are the heavy metal hadbangers.;)
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
1,960
Likes
2,952
Re: "If accurate is boring then it's not the gear's fault it's your ****** taste in music. "

Isn't it true though? If accurate gear doesn't satisfy you, then you're not using the gear to listen to the music, you're using the music to listen to the gear.

No it doesn't necessarily follow.

For instance, many times when I drive the car after my son has been using it I have to re-set the EQ from the ridiculous "smile" settings to flat, how I like it.

My son isn't an audiophile. He doesn't put much thought in to gear. He just knows what he likes to hear when listening to his music. Goosing the bass for all his rap stuff doesn't mean he's now caring about "listening to the gear, not the music." It's just a setting that makes his music sound good to his ears.

Similarly, plenty of folks here have talked about not going for colored speakers or amps, but instead using EQ at the end of the chain to adjust for "poor recordings" if one wants. Which is a perfectly rational idea. But is simply adjusting an EQ mean you are now gear obsessed, "using the music to listen to the gear?" I don't see how. It's simply making the listening more pleasant, and it's based on wanting to enjoy the music.

Same goes for room DSP many here use. Does using DSP to alter the sound of their system in a way they prefer mean they are therefore not interested in the music, but the gear instead? No. It can be a one time set and forget thing, and now the system sounds as they desire.

People who are ok with, or like some level of permanent coloration in their system can be just the same. It's "set and forget" and all they do is enjoy the music on their system.
 
Last edited:

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
1,960
Likes
2,952
Which raises the question, when a solo violinist is recorded and played back in studio conditions, should it sound like that violinist playing that violin in that studio, or your (romanticised?) idea of what a violin "should" sound like, probably achieved by "aggressive equalisation"?
Note the loaded language - I tend towards one of the choices, obviously.

I've mentioned that I like my soundsystem to mimic qualities I perceive in real instruments and voices. (Though true fidelity is never going to be achieved).

Somewhat to your question:

If I wanted a sound system that sounded "more real" (for now to mean: could more accurately reproduce the sound of real acoustic instruments...electronic instruments is another debate...) then the ideal way would be to perform blind listening tests between live instruments and sound systems, using the data to drive the development of a sound system. I'm no scientist and wouldn't have the facilities anyway, so that's not going to happen. Further, as far as I've seen, though there have been promotional stunts, and the occasional more rigorous tests, generally speaking the Live vs Reproduced area of study seems to be pretty thin. I'm sure there are plenty of practical reasons that make this so.

So my approach as a layman is to have done some modest, non-rigorous live vs reproduced comparisons of my own (playing back recorded instruments on some sound systems comparing to the live sound). And to just generally attempt to notice what I perceive to be the characteristics
of "real" sounds, and compare it to what I'm hearing on sound systems.

You mention comparing a solo violinist to one's "romanticised" idea of what a violin "should" sound like.

Without the ability to do rigorous testing, that's essentially where I'm at and I'm fine with it. In other words, for the most part I'm left comparing the sound of a violin on my system to what I think it "should" sound like based on my memory of hearing many real violins. And that's ok, because it's only MY memory and perception I need to be fooling in this regard. Since I don't have a real violin in the room to compare, something is only ever going to sound believable to me based on my own memory impressions anyway.
 

krabapple

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
858
Likes
907
Do you not see the incoherence in that position? He feels constrained to choose the flattest-possible on-axis speaker, while fully intending to immediately render it much less flat, in pursuit of improvements at the listening position. If you were to buy a car fully intending to immediately paint it orange, why would you care what color it was originally?

Car analogies to audio are generally silly. (i can play too: purposely buying a 'colored' speaker is like purposely buying a car with unbalanced wheels)

It's rather easier to adjust EQ of sound at the LP...and remove said EQ at will -- than it is to paint and unpaint a car. After all, I'm not 'doing' anything to the speakers themselves. In a different room with good acoustic properties, or in the near field, they will sound great all by themselves. And a 'colored' speaker may have FR issues that are beyond even 'room EQ' power to fix.

Lastly, some users EQ the low bass only, which is where the biggest deficits tend to exist in speaker/room systems. Even 'flat' speakers tend not to be flat there. Buying such a speaker is akin to buying a car that only needs 'help' in one aspect....versus one with lots of issues.
 
Last edited:

Duke

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Manufacturer
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 22, 2016
Messages
761
Likes
1,695
Location
Princeton, Texas
He's changing the response at *the listening position* to flattest possible. The problem is the room, not the speakers.

He feels constrained to choose the flattest-possible on-axis speaker, while fully intending to immediately render it much less flat, in pursuit of improvements at the listening position.


Would either of you guys see any utility in a speaker whose in-room response can be equalized independent of the first-arrival sound?
 

Inner Space

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
705
Likes
1,418
Would either of you guys see any utility in a speaker whose in-room response can be equalized independent of the first-arrival sound?

Not me personally, because first-arrival is all I want and all I get. But I would be fascinated to see it done.
 
Top Bottom